Do you believe in yourself this much?

Have you heard about Jessica Watson?

She’s a 16 year old (she turns 17 Tuesday) Australian girl who just returned home after spending 210 days at sea in a 34 foot yacht, traveling 23,000 nautical miles non-stop and unassisted. Jessica now holds the (unofficial) record of world’s youngest to sail around the world.  She began sailing at age 8.  Read the full story on NPR about the Aussie teen here.

Prior to her departure she was criticized. Her parents were told their decision to let her go was “an act of insanity”. And Jessica herself had doubts.

But on October 18, 2009, she began her journey to become the world’s youngest to sail around the world, unassisted and non-stop.

Like any at sea adventure, this was not without it’s challenges. In the end, a 16-year old female, unassisted, set out to accomplish a dream. And she did.

From Jessica:

“People don’t think you’re capable of these things — they don’t realize what young people, what 16-year-olds and girls are capable of,” Watson told the raucous crowd. “It’s amazing when you take away those expectations what you can do.”

Wise words from a young girl.

When people don’t think you’re capable, do you believe them?  Are you equipped to take away those expectations?

She’s being called a hero at home. To which she responds, “I don’t consider myself a hero. I’m an ordinary girl who believed in her dream.”

What’s your response upon hearing about a 16 year old out at sea, alone and unassisted?

My first thought: “Wow. I can’t believe she went alone at 16 years old!” And that immediately became, “Wow. I wish I had that much confidence at 16 years old.”

Confidence is a critical component of feel-good living, which is why  I became so interested, and quite frankly, inspired by Jessica’s story.

Makes me think about all the “fear” we hear so much about today.  What the hell are we so afraid of?

What are you willing to risk to achieve a dream?  Do you believe in yourself enough to make it happen? Do you have supportive people around you to help and encourage you?

If you haven’t heard of Jessica Watson, here are a few ways to get to know her.

You can read about Jessica Watson’s travels on her blog.
Or Follow her on Twitter
Or facebook

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  • Leanna

    I loved this article. Her story and determination are amazing. And so nice how she was able to just let her critics’ words (about how she didn’t *really* sail around the world) just roll off her back.

  • Lance

    I did hear about Jessica a couple of months ago – and found her story to be deeply inspiring.

    It’s easy to let the voice of “reason” (i.e. – those who doubt the dreams we share because they are too “out there”) let us push those dreams aside. What if, though…what if…we took a chance on our own heart? On ourselves? We are capable of so much!! If we can just believe that!

    Jessica’s story really highlights exactly that – believing in ourselves and really living the dreams in our souls!

  • Karl Staib – Work Happy Now

    Creating confidence starts with acts of fear and pushing through them. We must get outside our comfort zone to do work that creates change.

    I know I was afraid to start my blog. I didn’t want to be judged. But by doing it I now have confidence in my blogging abilities. It’s a great feelings.

    It’s people like Jessica that help me realize what I’m really capable of. I have a long way to go, but I’m taking small steps each day.

  • Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord

    That’s a wonderfully incredible story. She clearly has a very strong spirit, and is FEARLESS when it comes to what she loves. She reminds me a bit of my friend, Joy, and both women make me smile.

    Thank you, Stacey!

  • Tess The Bold Life

    Wow not that is what I call BOLD! It just goes to prove where there is a will there is a way. My mothers favorite line. Thanks for bringing us such good stuff Stacey. These days this is exactly what we all need to read about to be inspired! I’m grateful,

  • Evita

    I vaguely heard of Jessica though not the entire story as you described it above. Wow that is something!

    And I second Tess when she says that is BOLD! Fantastic – I just love inspirational stories like that, especially of people pursuing their dreams.

  • Hilary

    Hi Stacey ..I had heard of her .. and heard the news she’d got home safely. There was a Belgian girl ..I think who was younger, who was banned by the Courts and could not go ..

    That determination and knowledge of their abilities is incredible ..and the fact her parents were able to ‘see her off’ .. ie let her go .. tells of their parenting too ..

    Great story – thank you .. Hilary

  • Stacey Shipman

    Leanna – Yes, I know. It always amazes me how people will try to crush your dreams.

    Lance – if we can believe that…yes, we need to believe in ourselves, and I think having supportive parents helps, too!

    Karl – her story is an inspirational one, and even she wasn’t without judgment. It’s a matter of how much you believe in yourself, your dreams and what you want to accomplish.

    Megan – Fearless or just not letting the fear keep her stuck?!? A true inspiration to many people!

    Tess & Evita – yes, BOLD is a great word to describe this feat. I was in awe myself upon reading the story.

    Hilary – I agree, the parents play a major role….

  • Christine and Brian Kasaboski

    I have three daughters myself and if one of them were to come to me and say that she wanted to go around the world by sea I think my first reaction would be to ask her if she’s nuts but if I truly saw that this was her dream I would support her because so many of us growing up were discouraged from pursuing our dreams because it seemed nuts or insane to our parents but I encourage my daughters every day to dream and dream big and not to let anything or anyone stop them from fulfilling their dream. I’m 35 and I am learning to live out my dreams and not let others tell me otherwise. So good for her and her parents because we need more stories like this to wash out all of the fear that is instilled in us. Good article! Thank you for sharing!

  • Walter

    When God created us, He gave us the capacity to achieve anything we want. Unfortunately, the belief systems mankind has devised is full of admonitions and fear, hence we have forgotten our internal gifts. Impossibility is of man, faith is of Divine. :-)

  • Chris Edgar

    Hi Stacey — I was reflecting on this story recently (and the story of a 19-year-old millionaire who’s a Stanford undergrad right now) and I realized that, when I was a teenager, my basic attitude was “everything’s okay as long as I obey the rules.” I didn’t give much thought to meeting my own standards or releasing my own creative energies. I’m glad that’s changed today. :)

  • Stacey Shipman

    Hi Christine and Brian Kasaboski – Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. It’s great to hear your story of encouragement to your daughter’s – it’s so important and so needed!

    Walter – Beliefs, yes will create fear and hurt us!

    Chris – Funny you say that, Chris. I always played by the rules, while at the same time (verbally anyway) challenging them.

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